Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Elvis Presley has been swimming in it since his death in 1977. From his hip-swiveling '50s maverick, shown on TV only from the waist up, to his jumpsuit-wearing dinner show crooner of the Vegas years, Elvis provided poseurs with multiple personas to imitate -- and impersonation of the icon remains a lucrative cottage industry, even more than a quarter-century after the real King of Rock 'n' Roll left the building for good. Channeling the King is no small task and, as one might expect, some do it better than others. While there's no telling what Elvis himself might think of his army of impersonators, chances are he might like what he sees in a fellow by the name of "Elvis" Wade (pictured). Catch a performance so real you might just buy into those "Elvis is alive" theories when Mr. Wade joins the Phoenix Symphony in a Special Pops Tribute to Mr. Presley, Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17. Wade's performance is so spot-on that he's actually been able to enlist Elvis' longtime backing vocalists, the Jordanaires. They've performed with Wade since 1986 and will join him for a show packed with several decades' worth of Elvis classics.
Poetry in Motion
Verse finds a vehicle
If you think you're just seeing things, think again -- that really is poetry on the side of the bus. The Scottsdale Public Art Program will dedicate its third Poetry Bus, called "Lives in Motion," on Thursday, May 15, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts. The opening reception takes place at 5 p.m. inside the center, and the bus will officially be dedicated around 6 p.m. Then local slam poetesses Mary McCann and Linda Cushma, joined by students who contributed to the program, will read poetry. The event is free; call 480-874-4645 for details. And watch out for that bus . . . it rejoins the Scottsdale fleet once it's dedicated. - Maidi Terry
A peachy family affair
"I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree." We know what's on your mind: this weekend's Queen Creek Peach Festival at Schnepf Farms, 24810 Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek. The celebration includes hay rides to the orchards for picking; a sampling pavilion featuring demonstrations by Valley celebrity chefs Vincent Guerithault, Mark Tarbell, Eddie Matney and Christopher Gross; fresh-baked peach pies and homemade ice cream; and plenty of activities to entertain the little ones. Savor a ripe time Friday, May 16, through Sunday, May 18; hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $5. Call 480-987-3100 or visit www.peachfestival.net for more information. - Eric Schandel
Franks for the Memories
Exploring a monster obsession
Frankly, he's overexposed: Victor Frankenstein's monster -- introduced in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel -- has been the subject of more than 80 movies. On Wednesday, May 21, local cinephile Fred Linch explores the story's big-screen appeal in "The Cinematic Frankenstein: James Whale to Mel Brooks to Kenneth Branagh." Participants will gather at 7 p.m. at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central, to view assorted clips and ponder various portrayals of the pop icon. The free program is offered in conjunction with "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature," a traveling exhibition examining Shelley's novel, on view at the library through June 6. Call 602-262-4608 for details. - Jill Koch
Tattoo Jamboree makes its mark
If you've experimented with needles, odds are you've developed a habit. We're talking subcutaneous ink -- tattoos -- not anything requiring 12-Step treatment.Ink junkies, especially those with pieces they consider world-class, will want to check out the Third Annual Valley of the Sun Tattoo and Piercing Jamboree at the Phoenix Airport Marriott (44th Street and Loop 202), Friday, May 16, through Sunday, May 18. Not only will the best artists from across the Valley be on site to tattoo and exhibit their masterpieces, but also artists from 16 shops outside the state will be present to pound pigment into your skin.
Dan Collins, the brains behind the jamboree, is effusively optimistic about this year's event. The show is only three years old, but Collins has managed to attract major sponsors -- Indian Motorcycles -- and major media -- Skin & Ink Magazine -- to the show. Skin & Ink will search the attendees for a cover girl, as well as models for a coffee-table book of tattooed girls from the Southwest.
The event will recognize epidermal excellence in a multitude of categories, from small to extensive color and black/gray work to best pinup to most patriotic. It may be the ultimate opportunity to grin and bare it. Call 602-265-4158 or see www.aztattooshow.com for more information.- Brendan Joel Kelley
4-H gets watercrafty
Exactly how difficult is it to get kids interested in education? Apparently, much less so when the curriculum is floating underwater. In recent years, the 4-H Club has supported teachers in using ponds and water gardens as educational tools, cultivating life skills and environmental respect in a generation eager to learn.Learn all about life beneath the surface at the 2003 Parade of Ponds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17, and Sunday, May 18. The self-guided tour benefits the 4-H Youth Gardening Program and includes access to more than 25 ponds and water gardens throughout the Valley. Tickets are $15 per person; children 12 and younger are free. For details call 623-572-5607 or visit www.pondgnome.com.- Craig Wallach